Book Review: “Prince Caspian”

Book fourteen of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

C.S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian

The fourth book in the Chronicles of Narnia was the second movie made by Disney, so naturally it’s the second most well known, behind The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that is.

I’d seen the movie before reading the book so reading it was easier than some that had not been made into movies. I will say, unlike the second book, first movie, the book and movie had more differences.

The book had far less detail and adventure than the movie, which was a bit of a let down. Generally speaking the books usually have more detail, more adventure and more subplots. Prince Caspian fell short of this generalization which was a bit disappointing.

Overall the book follows the same general plot as the movie. (You’d hope so considering the movie was based on the book) The main parts from the movie that were generated by the script writers differing from the book were as follows:

  • In the movie, the arrival of the Pevensie children was at the very beginning when Caspian realized he was in danger of being killed by his greedy uncle and had just escaped the castle. In the book, Caspian has already gathered the old Narnians and faced his uncle’s army in small battles before he blows Susan’s horn.

This part of the plot in the book seems more realistic to me, as Caspian’s tutor said to only use the horn in grave danger, and for those that have seen the movie, Caspian blows the horn when a simple dwarf approaches him. It however sets up a whole line of events differently from the movie.

  • With this first plot differentiation throwing things into a whole new timeline it makes sense that other’s don’t follow accordingly. The second major part is that the battle at the castle never happens in the book. When the Pevensies finally arrive to aid Caspian, the single combat battle between King Peter and Miraz, Caspian’s uncle happens within a day.

The battle at Miraz’s castle was to hopefully gain ground and avoid a larger battle in the movie’s plot line and without this battle the plot goes straight into the large battle outside of Aslan’s How. This shortens the story quite a bit and actually gives way to another difference in plots.

  • The Pevensies finally meet Caspian at Aslan’s How where the old Narnian army has been for days, fighting small battles with the Telmarine army as said above, but they do not meet him by shear happenstance, like the the movie. Aslan himself leads them which cuts out the whole chase and race for Lucy to find him to bring aid during the final battle.

This part is portrayed differently in the book. Aslan brings the children and the dwarf from one place to just outside of Aslan’s How. Here he sends Peter and Edmund and the dwarf to the How where the army and Caspian are. During this time Susan, Lucy and Aslan get all the trees, driads, etc. that have been dormant since the downfall of old Narnia. Aslan still makes a “just in time” appearance with reinforcements, but it is nothing like the suspense the movie built for the same battle scene.

Now believe me, I hate making comparisons between a book and its movie adaptation, but this was the opposite of the usual book vs. movie conversation. It worked well in a way because I watched the movie before reading the book so I got the heavier details first, and then read the book.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book because it was a bit different from the movie so I didn’t expect every thing that occurred. The plot was a bit back and forth as it was told first from the Penvensies perspective and then went back in time to show Caspian’s and then eventually came together.

I’m not a huge fan of this style of writing because it can come off very confusing. It was not a single chapter going back and forth between the two perspectives it was several chapters at once and then several chapters from the second perspective and then back again.

I also thought for a book titled Prince Caspian that the book wasn’t really about Prince Caspian. It seemed like the character development I expected, and saw in other books in the series, was lacking in this one.

I will, however, continue to recommend this series as a whole. Each book is a very easy read and worth the story it tells.

Stay tuned for the next review: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, book five in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

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